North Port dog owner claims popular food killed her beloved pet

8 On Your Side
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) – Kelly Bone still can’t believe this happened.

The North Port dog owner says she’s heartbroken after recently losing her beloved little guy, Duncan.  Like so many pet owers, Duncan wasn’t just a dog. 

To Kelly, he was family.

On her Facebook page, she shared a message Feb. 7th which reads, in part, “Duncan, I am so sorry I trusted this company. Mommy loves you.”

Kelly maintains that Duncan died as a result of eating tainted pet food manufactured by Hill’s Nutrition. She says the dog food had too much vitamin D in it, which caused Duncan’s kidneys to fail.  

According to Kelly, when she reached out to Hill’s Nutrition regarding quality control in producing pet products, she claims the company told her they’re putting standards into place.

In her Facebook post, she stated, “Well, Hills Nutrition….it is too late for my little Duncan. This is inexcusable.”

After Kelly shared Duncan’s story online, she was shocked by what happened next..

Duncan’s story went worldwide. Her post went viral, and the response was overwhelming.

She received thousands of messages from all over the world. People contacted her with heartfelt condolences.

In addition, many who reached out to Kelly had also lost their beloved four-legged family members.  They, too, were filled with heartache.

Our News Channel 8 team contacted Hill’s Nutrition regarding the dog food in question.

As a results of Kelly’s allegations, we wanted to know how could something like this happen? Are quality control efforts being investigated or changed? 

The company released the following statement:

First and foremost, we’re heartbroken about this situation, which involves a limited quantity of our canned dog foods, and we are taking it very seriously.  As pet parents ourselves, we understand the gravity of health issues with our pets.

Our investigation confirmed that, due to a supplier error, a certified ingredient was shipped to Hill’s that contained elevated levels of vitamin D outside of our specifications.  That vitamin mix formula is not an ingredient in any of our dry foods.  No dry foods, treats or other wet foods are impacted by this recall.

To prevent this from happening again, we now require the supplier of our vitamin mix to conduct additional quality testing on every batch of this ingredient delivered to Hill’s.  In addition, we are also strengthening our own testing protocol for incoming ingredients as an additional safeguard. 

Hill’s Nutrition also provided a link so customers could check specific types of pet food affected.

When longtime Tampa veterinarian, Dr. Hansel Leavengood, heard the story of Duncan, he told us his heart breaks for Kelly. “We are sorry for the tragic loss of a loved one, but at least we know why and at least we can do something about it,” he told WFLA.

Dr. Leavengood and his colleagues at Dale Mabry Animal Hospital carry the Hill’s Nutrition brand and tells us it’s a good company, one that does thorough research. “They do a great deal of medical resarch. Like any food company out there, they will have recalls. it’s tragic there was a loss of life because of it,” he told WFLA.

He says after a recent recall of Hill’s Nutrition canned food, he and his colleagues pulled the affected food from their shelves.  Dr. Leavengood encourages all pet owners to consult with their veterinarians on a continuous basis. 

“Knowledge is enlightening, and if you want to be informed about the medical care of your pet, don’t listen to anybody but your veterinarian,” he said.

As for Kelly, she remains heartbroken, but vigilant in her efforts to get “justice for Duncan.”

Kelly has since filed a lawsuit and is represented by a corporate firm out of Chicago.

Regarding Hill’s Nutrition, she said, “This company needs to be put out of business. They do not deserve to be in business.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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